Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 306 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Jack and he writes:
I practice every day for 1 or 2 hours, sometimes even more. But I make slow progress on e.g. Bach level 1 course. Probably due to my age (71) and the fact that I didn't play for almost 30 years. But the good point is that I ENJOY the practicing now, thanks to your inspiring learning materials.
V: This is really nice to hear when senior person is trying to reacquaint himself with the organ while being absent away from the keyboard for decades.
A: That’s right.
V: Right? How old is your dad for example.
V: Seventy-six. We certainly have students like that and older in their eighties I think too. The oldest one was 89 maybe or 91, basically pushing towards 90 and still learning. That’s the most fascinating thing to me while many people just watch TV all day at that age. People like Jack tries to improve himself every day. Of course it’s not easy at this age and Bach Organ Mastery Level 1 course is not really beginners course. Eight Preludes and Fugues are not the easiest pieces that he wrote or his students wrote. What would you have to say to Jack?
A: That he is doing an excellent job actually. Just doing it is already wonderful.
V: At this age you don’t have to press yourself too much, you don’t have to worry about other things, how other people think about you, about your future career, where this might lead you or not, is it worth your time or not, you just play for your own enjoyment. If you want a more thrilling experience you could actually after learning a piece or two go find a local church and play for the prelude or postlude just for experience and playing in public but it’s not required. You could simply play it for your friends and family. That would be amazing enjoyment for them.
A: Yes, and I think this age, 65 plus ten years, is when people retire usually and they have more time so they can practice organ.
V: It’s like hobby, right?
V: But this hobby started late in life, right? Is it good to take up something new at this stage?
A: I think yes and I think Jack used to play because he only hadn’t played now for thirty years.
V: Do you imagine yourself being at seventy or more and taking up some new things learn, if you are living that long.
A: Well yes, if I am living that’s a very good question. I don’t think I will be living by seventy but…
V: If you do.
A: Yes, why not?
V: Why not (laughs) if you say so. If that’s what you want dear.
A: But you know I already play, I already draw, what else could I do? Do some sports at that age maybe?
V: Do some sports, yes. Because you know stretching is important at this level, walking is important, moving basically.
A: But I’m walking now. Not right now but in these days.
V: (laughs) Maybe something that you even haven’t thought about, something entirely different like jumping out of the airplane with a parachute.
A: Oh no, I’m afraid of heights. And I can swim so I cannot learn swimming at that age. Maybe do some ice skating.
V: Ice skating, yes. What about skiing?
A: I don’t know, maybe.
V: Cross country skiing.
A: Winters are getting so mild we don’t get enough snow.
V: I’ll try to introduce you to skiing when we go to Alps next March if there is any snow left. We’ll be playing at the organ festival there in the French Alps and it will be very fascinating to see the mountains from up close.
A: Thanks for warning me about your plans, maybe I can not go, find an excuse, and leave you alone to perform.
V: That would be a sad choice I think. But we can work something out I think. I’m not fond of skiing myself. I just like watching other people ski.
A: Usually people who like to watch sports don’t like to take any and do it themselves.
V: What did we do last Wednesday, do you remember?
A: Oh, going to Leliunai to perform?
V: Yes. What did you think about that experience?
A: It was nice. I have never played for kids so young in age.
V: There were kindergarten level kids and elementary school children too. About twenty-eight total of them plus several adult teachers and all of them were gathering around the beginning of twentieth century organ in this little town of Leliunai and we were supposed to do organ demonstration for them. Ausra was supposed to play for them and I was supposed to talk and Ausra played organ music. What did you play?
A: Bach, Krebs, Mendelssohn, Franck, and Lefebure-Wely.
V: Exciting pieces, at least for adults. And then I talked, I told them a fairy tale, like a story about piglet Pinky and hedgehog Spiky and their friends building pipe organ and that was my way of introducing the kids to the organ because through story we could remember better things. And what else they did? Oh, they drew the scenes from the story with George and the organ with animals too. Also they were more focused this way.
A: Yes. There was one small boy that stood behind me all the time and looked at the score, at my hands, through the entire performance.
V: Maybe that’s a future organist.
A: Could be, I thought about it too.
V: And then after Ausra played the last piece we invited everybody to try out the instrument for a few moments, not for a long time because twenty-eight kids, that’s a lot and we only had ten minutes left before we had to go to eat lunch. And the priest was nice because he gave all the kids lollypops.
A: Even we got one for each.
V: We are saving them for Saturdays.
A: That’s right. So Jack, I think you are on the right track because progress even for young people doesn’t come easily so just keep practicing. The most important thing is that you are enjoying it.
V: If you master just four measures per day that’s beautiful progress I think and you repeat previously mastered measures too your progress grows stronger and stronger each day. Thanks guys, this was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: Please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow and remember when you practice…
A: Miracles happen.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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